The picture above was just taken with my current camera, the Panasonic Lumix FH20. I actually received this camera almost 2 years ago from my wife as a Christmas gift. The reason I wanted it then (and still) was/is to use as a backpacking camera. As can be noticed, I like to take pictures, and even do some videos here and there to use on my blog, or on my YouTube channel, so obviously, a camera is an important to me.
The camera I had before the FH20 was a poor excuse for a camera, so when I upgraded I wanted something that essentially took good photos and video. After a fair amount of researching and asking around, I decided on the FH20, and I must admit that after using it for nearly 2 years now, I have mostly good things to say about it.
- It takes good pictures.
- It records good video (however, with one limitation…see below).
- It is easy to use.
- It is (reasonably) lightweight.
- It is (reasonably) compact.
As can be seen in the list above, the FH20 camera did a pretty good job at filling my needs. And to make it better, I got it at a great price on Amazon, which only made it that much better. However, as can be seen in the leading photo on this post, it has lost its ability to take good photos, which is the one aspect that can undermine all the other remaining features in this list…
So, what happened?
Over the past few months I have noticed a small scratch on the outer glass covering the lens. At first, it was only a small scratch that would barely, if at all, show up in the photos. However, over time, the scratch seemed to get worse and worse. I am not really sure what caused the scratch, but all I can say is that it is there. I will admit though, it has been used. As with all of my gear, I try to take care with it, but I don’t baby it when I need to use it. I expect it to do its job when it is needed, and to be honest, despite the results (already?) I think that it has done a great job.
Over the last few weeks, I have noticed the scratch has looked deeper than at first. As well, when taking pictures looking into a light source, I have been able to clearly see the scratch in the photos. I made do with this for a while, but have been wondering if I could do something about it…
So, tonight, I loaded up a soft, polishing brush on my dremel, and then took it to the glass. I will admit, this was not my smartest move in a while… Sadly, as I had hoped, the polishing brush did not remove, or even lessen the scratches, but instead actually rubbed a blurry image into the lens… (that is the best way I can describe it…)
So, long story short, my camera is not up-to-par anymore, at least in my opinion. And I need another one. Why not go with another FH20, since I was so happy with the one I already had? As I said, I got mine at what I felt was a great price ($120) and now, just doing a quick search (on Amazon) I find them for as low as $169 (new). Also, as I had mentioned, there was one limitation I found with this camera and this was the fact that I could not zoom in or out while actually shooting video. So, considering this, unless I could find this camera for an even better price than what I initially got it for, I am not really interested, at least at this point.
Which leads me to this post…
For the last few months now, I have had the Panasonic Lumix LX5 in my “Wish List” on Amazon.com. However, on my most recent hiking trip I got to check out Brian Green‘s Panasonic Lumix GF2. And now I am not sure which I want.
Pixel wise, either is a winner in my book. For what I am wanting a camera for, either of these cameras are just fine IMO when it comes to the amount of pixels. As well, things such as 3D photos and touch screen displays are not of a concern to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I want the camera to take good (or even great) photos and video, but I just feel like either of these cameras will do both of these.
According to a comparison that I read between the two models though, it really looks like the GF2 has the LX5 in a couple of ways, although not all. The GF2 shoots in full 1080p vs 720p, has a higher image quality, a larger sensor and features interchangeable lenses. Although, it looks like the LX5 has a few worthwhile features as well, including image stabilization, faster continuous shooting and longer battery life, not to mention it is lighter than the GF2.
I have not been able to put my hands on an LX5, but there have been a lot of suggestions for the LX5 in the comment section on a previous post over on Brian’s Backpacking Blog. However, as I mentioned earlier in this post, I was able to briefly check out the GF2 that Brian Green has now been using for the last few months. He had lots of great things to say about this camera, and after handling the camera for a moment, and of course checking out the pics that he has taken with it, well I am definitely impressed.
As well, concerning the GF2, I love the fact that it has the same button layout, and I would assume, pretty much the very near same user interface as the Lumix FH20 that I currently have. This would be very nice as far as I am concerned as I would not have to relearn an entire system!
So, considering at the moment I am looking at approximately $360 for either of these cameras, it will be a bit before I can drop some money on a new one. However, these are the 2 that I am really, really considering. (But, I will admit, I am not throwing out other options, but I am about 99.9% sure that one of these 2 will be what I go with.)
So, just curious if anyone has any experience with either of these cameras and can offer some input on them. As I said, this will be for backpacking use. Although, I will admit, I will probably be more careful with either of these cameras than I have been with my FH20. I have carried the FH20 in my pants pocket and have even used it in some slight misting, as well, it has been out and used in the temps ranging from the mid teens to around 100 F and with high humidity. So, with this in mind, I cannot really say that my FH20 has underperformed, but again, I will be more considerate with the newer camera…
So, feel free to leave your thoughts on these cameras below!